Real Clear Politics points to a Denver Post article on what national Democrats can learn from Democratic pick ups in the West in 2004:
Democratic analysts are studying Sen. Ken Salazar’s victorious Colorado campaign, which shrank GOP margins in Douglas and other fast-growing counties, as a potential template for a party comeback in 2006 and 2008.
Salazar won Colorado, as Kerry lost the state, because the Senate candidate’s statewide total vote “exceeded Kerry’s by 79,456,” writes DLC strategist Ed Kilgore in a study conducted with analyst Mark Gersh of the National Committee for an Effective Congress…
Salazar’s campaign, like those run by Democratic governors Tim Kaine of Virginia and Mike Easley of North Carolina, took a centrist message to exurbs that appealed to independents, moderates and conservatives. Salazar “placed special emphasis on his law enforcement experience, his national security views, and his mainstream cultural values,” Gersh and Kilgore noted.
As RCP notes, and as Donkey Digest preaches constantly, netroots types, (DailyKOS, David Sirota etc.) think centrism is the bane of the Democratic Party. Of course, all of the Democrats’ best centrist candidates win and all their extremists lose.
As I’ve said before, the Israel-Lebanon crisis has me depressed. I’m both a lover of peace and a supporter of Israel, and it annoys me when I can’t have my cake and eat it too. I’m fairly certain a fearsome ground invasion of southern Lebanon by the Israelis is coming, and I’m sad for the devastation I know this will cause innocent Lebanese bystanders. But I have to support Israel’s right to defend itself here. Here’s the analogy I think is relevant for most Americans:
If a Mexican gang, that held positions in the Mexican government, were launching rockets at Houston, demanding the return of California, what would we do? If the gang kidnapped a couple of National Guardsmen keeping watch on the border? Would it be an acceptable solution to let an international peacekeeping force made up of Cuban, Venezuelan, and Chinese soldiers patrol Juarez and Nuevo Laredo?
Disclaimers: I support Israel. I support a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I don’t support terrorism. I don’t like war and wish there were a way for Israel to be secure without attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon. I wish war had no casualties. I wish there could be no innocent civilians killed in war. And I certainly don’t think it’s fair for Lebanese civilians to have to be punished for Hezbollah’s actions. If I could see a peaceful solution, I would support it, but I just don’t.
Israel cannot allow rockets to rain down on its heartland without retribution any more than any other country. Israel cannot allow French and Russian troops to be responsible for securing Israel — they won’t be truly willing to do what it takes. Israel might agree to American peacekeepers, but we’d never do it, and we’re stretched pretty thin as it is. The Lebanese government is incapable of publicly criticizing, much less disarming, Hezbollah. And an air war alone will not be sufficient to neutralize Hezbollah to any lasting extent. The world political situation is about as favorable for an Israeli strike on Hezbollah as it’s likely to get for decades. Israel sees this as an opportunity for at least a medium term solution. It seems to me that Israel will invade and crush Hezbollah (or at least try).
Repeat: If a Mexican gang, that held positions in the Mexican government, were launching rockets at Houston, demanding the return of California, what would we do?
The New Democratic Network discusses how the national political landscape is changing.
The success of a political party or national campaign often comes from the ability to sense the change and get ahead of the other side. It feels like we are in such a moment now.
In the old landscape the Democrats had the wind at their back. Iraq, Katrina, an economy not working for most, corruption, etc had produced an environment very favorable for Democrats. My sense is that backdrop, that environment, and all the message plans, the polling, the strategies for media is about to change. There is mounting evidence of an economic slow down, possibly making the governing party’s economic positioning – always critical – even worse. But how is the security environment going to change? Not entirely clear. But what is clear is it is very possible that the events of the world will make this conversation much more than about our failures in Iraq – the question for both parties is are they ready to adapt, to change, to anticipate, to improvise their way into the final fall messaging wave?
To me it is clear that the centrality of Iraq to the whole progressive enterprise is about to give way to a very different – and more complex – conversation about the Middle East, the use of force and the goals of American foreign policy. Are we ready for this? Intellectually? Politically?
Donklephant recommends the Feinstein suggestion for the Israel/Hezbollah conflict:
Sen. Diane Feinstein had a good suggestion (no link available) talking to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today. Feinstein suggests rounding up the ex-presidents, Mr. Bush the Wiser, and Bill Clinton, and pack them off to the area on a long-term assignment to try and work out a way to get Hezbollah under some control, and Iran out of the immediate region. (Feinstein may have advanced it earlier, but I couldn’t find a link.) I think this sounds like a pretty good idea. The elder Mr. Bush is trusted by many Arab regimes, and Mr. Clinton knows more about the region than, well, anyone.
As Bush discusses why he issued his first presidential veto on stem cell funding, watch the little girl in the background flip him off before her daddy pulls her hand down. CLASSIC!